The Tax Payer Relief Act of 1997 includes provisions for the American Opportunity Credit and the Lifetime Learning Credit. Both credits allow certain taxpayers who have incurred qualified expenses for higher education to take a credit against their federal income tax liability. Educational institutions are required by law to provide information to students who qualify for the education credits. Schools, colleges and universities report this information to the IRS and to students on Form 1098-T. The 1098-T form should not be attached to your federal income tax return when you claim the education credits (as W-2 forms are); however, you must have received this form in order to claim either the American Opportunity Credit or the Lifetime Learning Credit on your federal tax return.
The following is an explanation of what each box on the 1098-T form contains:
Box 1 - Payments received for qualified tuition and related expenses: This box will be left blank. Universities may choose whether to report payments received or amounts billed on student accounts; they need not report both amounts. The University of Arizona has chosen to report qualified tuition and related expense amounts billed.
Box 2 - Amounts billed for qualified tuition and related expenses: In general, this box will contain the sum of all tuition, registration and required registration fees billed to a student’s account during a calendar year, less any amounts by which tuition was reduced due to a reduction in course load or withdrawal. Adjustments made to the tuition by Graduate Assistant Waivers, Qualified Tuition Reductions, and Athletic Tuition Waivers will reduce the tuition amount. The amount reported is not reduced by the scholarships and grants reported in box 5.
Amounts billed to a student account for housing, books, fines, insurance or non-required fees will not be included in the Box 2 amount.
Please note that when the American Opportunity Credit or Lifetime Learning Credit is taken on the federal income tax return, the calculation of the credit is based on the amount of qualified educational expenses actually paid by the taxpayer during the calendar year. The University reports amounts billed to a student's account. Therefore, the amount you use to calculate your education credit will not necessarily be the same as the amount that appears in Box 2. You should use the information on the 1098-T form in conjunction with your own payment records to determine eligibility for the credits.
If you have questions about how to compute your education tax credit, you should consult your tax professional or refer to IRS Publication 970.
Box 3 - This box will be left blank, since The University of Arizona has not changed its current method of reporting from the previous year (2011).
Box 4 - Adjustments made for a prior year: The amount in this box should be the sum of all reductions in tuition (refunded or not) related to amounts billed in a prior year. This amount is reported as a positive number per IRS requirements. However, it is actually a decrease to the amount that was reported on a prior year 1098-T. See "recapture" in the index to Pub. 970 to report a reduction in your credit or deduction.
Box 5 - Scholarships or grants: This box contains the sum of all scholarships and grants the University of Arizona administered and processed for the student’s account during the calendar year. Awards included in this amount may pay qualified tuition expenses as well as housing, books, and other non-qualified expenses.
Box 6 - Adjustments to scholarships or grants for a prior year: Decreases or refunds of scholarship amounts related to scholarships reported in a previous year are included in this box. This amount is reported as a positive number per IRS requirements. However, it is actually a decrease to the amount that was reported on a prior year 1098-T. You may have to file an amended income tax return for the prior year.
Box 7 - This box will be checked if the amount reported in Box 2 includes tuition or registration fees billed to a student account in the current year that pay for a semester beginning in the next calendar year. For example, tuition billed in December 2012 for Spring semester 2013 will be reported on your 2012 1098-T. Box 7 will be checked to indicate that this is the case.
Box 8 - A check in this box indicates that you are or have been enrolled at the University of Arizona at least half-time for at least one semester during the calendar year.
Box 9 - This box will be checked if you are a student enrolled in a program leading to a graduate-level degree.
Box 10 - This box is not used by the University of Arizona, so it will be blank.